Reviews

Book Review: Anonymous

“ANONYMOUS,” BY CHRISTINE BENEDICT

LOCONEAL SELECT; 2 EDITION; JUNE 25, 2014

anonymous

 

Synopsis: Debra Hamilton confronts the fear of inheriting mental illness when her husband moves her into a hundred-year-old farmhouse on fifty-three acres of blacklisted real estate property. Floorboards creak when she’s alone. Objects appear and disappear. Neighbors insinuate the house is haunted but memories of her mother’s schizophrenia make her wonder. Julie, a neighbor who befriends Debra, faces her own fears when a stalker starts sending perverted anonymous letters that cause a rift in Julie’s unstable marriage. Their plots merge as their friendship grows to create a rich and satisfying story.

 

My Review:

“Anonymous” is a suspenseful, mysterious novel by Christine Benedict, mixed in with a touch of paranormal. Debra and her husband Greg move into an old farmhouse that is the epitome of a fixer-upper. Not long after starting repairs and spending more time in the house, Debra begins hearing strange noises and items start disappearing and reappearing. Whenever she tries to convince Greg something strange is going on in the house, he quickly offers explanations such as trees blowing up against windows or just the house being old. Moreover, Debra isn’t sure if what she is seeing and hearing is real, or if she is beginning to develop mental illness just as her mother did. Luckily, Debra befriends one of her neighbors, Julie, but she also has problems of her own. She starts receiving mysterious letters from someone calling themselves “Smitten,” that are not only creepy and frustrating but cause problems in her already problematic marriage. The novel follows the fears and experiences of these two women as they deal with Debra’s strange occurrences and Julie’s stalker. 

This was definitely an exciting and suspenseful novel that kept me guessing about whether Debra’s house was haunted, who the good guys were and who the bad guys were. Debra’s character was so honest and real as a former child in foster care after her mother killed both her father and her sexually abusive step-father. Her and Greg’s marriage was sad but also probably very relatable to some people. There seemed to be love between the two of them but very little real communication and affection. Julie was similar to Debra in that she had also spent her youth in foster care after her mother died, however, Julie’s marriage was emotionally abusive and extremely tense. Between the strange occurrences at the house, a cow to tend to in the yard and a rogue groundhog – I couldn’t help but feel bad for Debra trying to acclimate to her new home and surroundings, all the while questioning her mental stability as Greg continuously discounted her concerns about the house. Probably the creepiest character of all was Bruce, the part-time animal control/game warden who had an extremely weird obsession with cats, which I honestly never understood 100%, but nonetheless, he was odd. 

The spooky, but kind of cool thing about this novel is the author’s inspiration. Christine Benedict actually lived in a circa 1875 farmhouse that is rumored to be haunted. She sent me a link to a documentary where the Munroe Falls Paranormal Society investigated the home for any paranormal activity. Take a look to see the house, the author and watch some of the investigation! In addition to the author living in her own possibly haunted house, she also had a stalker of her own. All of the letters written to Julie in the novel from “Smitten” are the actual letters from Benedict’s own stalker who was never discovered. 

Although I felt at times that things were dragging on or somewhat repetitive, I really enjoyed this novel. It wasn’t just a ghost story and wasn’t just a stalker story, but possessed several elements and subplots related to various issues to make it a unique and fascinating novel. Benedict touched on child abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, sexual abuse, troubled marriages, ghosts, and much more – and it all worked perfectly together in this novel. If there was anything I wasn’t crazy about it would probably be the ending which was definitely a nail-biter, but I would have loved some sort of epilogue or something just to find out what else happened with all of the characters further down the road. Regardless, though, this was a great read. 

*Thanks to the author for providing me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Christine Benedict by visiting her web page. 

Purchase “Anonymous” on Amazon. 

 

Reviews

Book Review: Pieces of Gray

“Pieces of Gray” (Broken Pieces Book 4),

by Kelly Moore

Publication: January 7, 2017

pieces-of-gray

Synopsis: Would you risk your life for someone that you love? Would you risk theirs?

Gray Milby was a badass sniper in the Army. She was held captive deep in the jungles of China for two years. She left behind the only man she has ever loved believing that he was dead until now. She risks her life and others to rescue him, returning to the place where her own nightmares come from.

Captain Kell Crew has survived four years of torture, being held captive in a cage. Physically he survived, mentally he will never be the same man that Gray remembers. In order for him to survive again, she has to make the choice of giving him up once more.

A year later they accidently meet again and Kell is drawn to every part of her being. He feels he remembers Pieces of Gray, but how is that possible when he has never met her before? All he knows is that he wants her.

Gray has tried everything to move on with her life and forget about her love for Kell. He forces his way back into her life and she can no longer push him away. Her love for him is too deep. Being with him risks his own life. Their love for each can destroy them both.

Someone else is lurking out there waiting to seek revenge. He just might kill them both.

My Review:

If you follow my blog you already know that I am a Kelly Moore nut having read the first 3 books in the Broken Pieces series, as well as, her stand-alone novel, Next August. And yes, I loved them all. I am trying to be more objective when reading and reviewing regardless of whether I previously loved or disliked an author’s work. However, there is no way to contain my love and excitement for Pieces of Gray!

We’ve read about the parents and we’ve heard Steel and Ady’s story, but this time the focus is on Steel and Syn’s cousin, Gray. As we learned in the last novel, Gray joined the military just like her cousins, where she became an expert sniper. After being captured and tortured in a POW camp, Gray finally gets out and gets home, thinking that the love of her life – Kell Crew – has already been killed.

A few years later, Gray is informed that there is a chance Kell is still alive, so she and Syn risk their lives to find the camp and rescue any prisoners alive. Luckily, Kell makes it out but is a changed man both physically and mentally after 4 years of torture. Back in the U.S. at a military hospital, the doctor’s have run out of options with the exception of an experimental procedure with PTSD patients where their time in the military is erased from their minds and replaced with other memories. The only catch, Gray must stay away from him to avoid triggering his old memories. Kell would get a new life and work as a private detective with her cousin Syn, assigned as his “handler” to ensure that the treatment is effective and the memories don’t resurface. Although she’s lost Kell again, Gray tries to carry on until one night they see each other in a restaurant and Kell is immediately drawn to her. As he tries to get to know her and get more involved in her life, she tries to push him away for his own good, but eventually she can’t fight how they feel for one another. Because of her inability to resist Kell, it results in challenges and hardships for everyone. 

I already loved Gray in the last novel, but was absolutely crazy about her character in Pieces of Gray. Gray is beautiful, caring and feminine, but is also a brilliant and intelligent Veteran. Being raised with her two male cousins and having a Dad that taught her how to handle a gun early in life, Gray is not some petite little flower unable to take care of herself. However, she also has a very sweet and adorable relationship with her cousins Steel and Syn who always want to keep her safe while still remembering that she is an equal. Through Gray’s flashbacks, we learn all the wonderfully sweet, romantic and heart-breaking details about Gray and Kell, what happened before and what happened after they were captured. Moore guides the reader on a journey of the love that developed between them, as well as, their devastation after being captured and separated. Gray’s strength and will were tested repeatedly throughout the story, honestly making me crazy just wanting everything to work out for her. 

Kell is my new book character boyfriend. From Gray’s first flashbacks until the end of the novel I loved everything about that man. I don’t know what else to say. No seriously, I loved how Moore developed his character showing the strong soldier at the beginning, then revealing the prisoner he had become over 4 years, and then the various changes and phases he went through after being rescued. Not only did it address possible effects of PTSD, Moore also demonstrated the difficulties and challenges when one person remembers their love and one does not, almost reminding me of one person of a couple developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.  One thing that definitely could not be ignored was the amazing chemistry between Gray and Kell, but also the continued bonds shared between Gray and her family. 

Something I both love (and sometimes hate, lol) about Kelly Moore is that her writing is so gripping and so realistic that you forget you are reading a book! It feels as if you are right there and a part of everything – both good and bad – but then you reach the ending and realize that it’s over and you’re snapped back into reality! There are never any lulls in her writing, no dull moments that seem to drag, but instead contains non-stop dialogue or action strengthening your personal investment in the characters. It’s impossible not to feel the emotion, concern, fears, joy, and love among this family and the characters in this novel, just as in the 3 previous novels in the series. Once again I have started and finished one of her books within a few hours, completely getting lost in the incredible story with all of its hardships and celebrations. Pieces of Gray is full of romance and suspense, but as always with Kelly Moore, it’s just an outstanding work of fiction that is an absolute must read. 

*Many thanks to the author for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Learn more about Kelly Moore by visiting her web page.

Pre-order “Pieces of Gray” on Amazon. 

 

Posts

Top Twelve Reads of 2016

As we are closely approaching the end of the year, I wanted to take a few moments to praise my favorite books of the year – which is incredibly difficult considering that I read more than 200 novels this year. There are so many novels and authors that I love, but I tried to wrap it up to my top 12 faves of the year (couldn’t choose just 10, lol)! Some of these are actually a series because I love the entire series and couldn’t choose just one of the novels 🙂 Follow links to my reviews if you missed them the 1st time!

The first 3 are my TOP 3, but the rest are not in any particular order 🙂 

 

1. Never Open Desert Diner, by James Anderson

diner

2. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood

ugly

3. The Little Paris Bookshop, by Nina George

Little Paris

4. Everything You Want Me to Be, by Mindy Mejia 

everything

5. Ophelia’s War, by Alison McLennan 

ophelias war

6. A Thousand Yesteryears, by Mae Clair

1000 yesteryears

7. Lust, Money, & Murder series, by Mike Wells

lustmoneymurder

8. The Heart Trilogy, by Audrina Lane

where did your heart go

9. Broken Pieces series, by Kelly Moore

BrokenPieces

10. The Empty Room, by Sarah J. Clemens

empty-room

11. The Promise of Jesse Woods, by Chris Fabry

promise of jesse

12. Cupcakes series, by Bethany Lopez

cupcakes

 

Posts

What Am I Reading?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve done this post with all of the holiday business! But here is what I am hoping to read and review this week! 

“The Law of Duality,” by J.D. Davis

Publication: October 8, 2016

dualitySynopsis: With his wife gone, Sean Case did his best to raise their deaf, seven-year-old son alone. On a day when he did not think things could get any better, the most miraculous thing ever happened, he discovered his son’s ability to communicate with telepathy.

After finding hidden cameras in his home that could have recorded the event, strange things start happening.

As a hybrid monster pursues him and his son, he encounters someone he never expected and another he never knew. He soon learns that the monster is the result of hideous DNA research, but that is not all. Sean Case is the nucleus of the DNA experiments surrounding him and everything he’d known until then are fabricated tales and lies.

The Law of Duality is the gripping, turbulent story of a family being chased by not only a brutal monster intent on killing them but their own horrendous past.

“Anonymous,” by Christine Benedict

Loconeal Select; 2 edition; June 25, 2014)

 

 

anonymous

 

Synopsis: Debra Hamilton confronts the fear of inheriting mental illness when her husband moves her into a hundred-year-old farmhouse on fifty-three acres of blacklisted real estate property. Floorboards creak when she’s alone. Objects appear and disappear. Neighbors insinuate the house is haunted but memories of her mother’s schizophrenia make her wonder. Julie, a neighbor who befriends Debra, faces her own fears when a stalker starts sending perverted anonymous letters that cause a rift in Julie’s unstable marriage. Their plots merge as their friendship grows to create a rich and satisfying story.

 

 

“Traveling Light,” by Lynne Branard

Publication: Berkley Publishing; January 10, 2017

travelling.pngSynopsis: Driving from North Carolina to New Mexico with her three-legged dog, a strange man’s ashes, and a waitress named Blossom riding shotgun isn’t exactly what Alissa Wells ever wanted to be doing. But it’s exactly what she needs…

It all starts when Alissa impulsively puts a bid on an abandoned storage unit, only to become the proud new owner of Roger Hart’s remains. Two weeks later, she jumps in her car and heads west, thinking that returning the ashes of a dead man might be the first step on her way to a new life.

She isn’t wrong.

Especially when Blossom, who just graduated from high school, hitches a ride with her to Texas, and Alissa has to get used to letting someone else take the wheel. Posting about their road trip on Facebook, complete with photos of Roger at every stop, Blossom opens Alissa’s eyes to the road in front of her—and to how sometimes the best things in life are the ones you never see coming…

“The Most Dangerous Place on Earth,”

by Lindsey Lee Johnson

Publication: Random House; January 10, 2017

most-dangerousSynopsis: In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for “her” kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents’ expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public—postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

 

So those are my reading plans for the week, but of course, they could possibly change. Happy reading and have a great week!

 

Reviews

Book Review: Mapping the Glades

“MAPPING THE GLADES,”

BY DAVID BURTON

PUBLICATION: JULY 8, 2016

mapping

Synopsis: A stolen million.
A gangster who wants it back.
A reclusive writer who doesn’t give a damn.

Mapping the Glades is a fast-paced thriller set in the Everglades. An Ex-DEA agent, now a successful writer, is forced to go after a desperate California gangster.

Ex-DEA agent, Harrison Park, now a successful writer who has lived in virtual seclusion on the edge of the Everglades for three years since the suspicious death of his wife. Trouble arrives with his step-son, Pauly, who Harrison believes was involved in his wife’s death. With Pauly is his girlfriend, Tracy, who has stolen money from a California gangster, Raul Geoshay.

As Harrison reluctantly allows himself to be drawn in to protect Pauly and Tracy from Geoshay, he is helped by Carmen, an attractive Cuban woman whose family he helped rescue years ago. When Carmen’s beautiful younger sister is attacked, and her boyfriend murdered, the search for Geoshay becomes personal.

As Geoshay’s actions and Harrison’s search for him become more intense, Harrison learns the awful secret of his wife’s family and how she really died. He and Carmen grow closer. In the final confrontation with Geoshay in the Everglades he begins to see her as an attractive, strong woman who can help him live a full life again.

My Review:

First, let me begin by apologizing about how incredibly behind I am on reading and reviews! The holidays and an extra holiday job have completely messed up my schedule! Today I finally had some free time to sit down and read “Mapping the Glades,” by David Burton. Once I started reading it, I did not stop until I was finished. 

This story begins with Tracy stealing a briefcase of money from a bad dude, Raul Geoshay, that deals in crime and stolen cars. Tracy rushes home to her boyfriend Pauly confessing about her theft and informing him to pack. Desperate for a place to hide out, they head to the Florida Everglades to the home of Pauly’s stepdad, Harrison Park, a writer who has basically led a life of seclusion since his wife died 3 years earlier. As expected, not long after Pauly and Tracy arrive at Harrison’s house, complete hell busts loose with Raul’s people trying to track down the money and an important black book that Tracy had stolen. From there on, it’s one killing, raping and shooting after another as the story progresses with Raul trying to reclaim his money and everyone else trying to outsmart and kill Raul. 

Again, I was not able to put this book down until I finished it, and was literally sucked in after the first page. However, there are A LOT of characters and A LOT of subplots in this novel. This is one of those times where I’m compelled to pull out the bullet points regarding characters…

  • Harrison Park: writer, ex-DEA agent, Pauly’s stepdad, was married to Pauley’s mom, Lara
  • Pauley: complete map geek who had finally gotten his dream job in L.A. when his call-girl girlfriend steals millions and a “little black book” from a bad guy
  • Tracy: Pauley’s girlfriend that stole from Raul Geoshay, thus starting all of this mess in the first place
  • Teddy: beautiful, 17-year-old Cuban girl that is Harrison’s part time housekeeper
  • Carmen: Teddy’s older sister that is in love with Harrison
  • Carlos: Teddy and Carmen’s Dad, friends with Harrison
  • Simone: mysterious girl that Harrison meets, hits it off with her, she has secrets
  • Sylvia: Pauly’s aunt, doesn’t get along with Harrison, knows what “really” happened regarding Lara’s death, also has secrets
  • Mullet, etc: local law enforcement that is the first of several to get injured/killed/maimed in some way

There are several other characters in the novel, but you get the basic idea of the key players. Regarding the numerous subplots, in my opinion, they all worked well with the overall story, without anything standing out as irrelevant or ridiculous in any way, however, there were times where I was wondering how many more people were going to be in this story and how were they going to be involved. Nevertheless, I found Burton’s writing perfectly descriptive without going into too much detail, and was completely engrossed in the plot being surprised several times thinking I had reached the climax and conclusion, when actually, I had not. 

Positives are the characters of Harrison and Carmen and the creativity of the setting and the plot. There was a perfect amount of suspense and surprises that kept me guessing the entire time. And there are definitely some shocking and somewhat troubling revelations as the novel progresses, most of which I NEVER saw coming.  Unfortunately, I do have some negative feedback and that is regarding the lack of realism. I felt like people were being shot up, stabbed, etc. then home in their beds an hour later only to end up injured again before the end of the night. Perhaps it was the lack of clarity regarding days and times, but I kept wondering what emergency room in the world could patch up gunshot wounds quickly enough so that someone could go out and be shot or stabbed again before bedtime. I know that our ERs here will leave you waiting a few hours even if you’re bleeding from the eyes so that part was a stretch for me. However, I am not familiar with the area in which the novel was set, so maybe there isn’t a lot of ER traffic there? 

For all of you mystery/suspense/thriller fans out there, I suggest getting a copy of “Mapping the Glades.” It was different and unique, but still embodied the great qualities of this genre of writing. Despite the few little issues I had with the novel, remember that I was completely sucked in and absolutely unable to put this down until I finished!

Learn more about David Burton and his other novels by visiting his web page. 

Purchase “Mapping the Glades” on Amazon. 

*Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

 

 

 

Reviews

Book Review: I Liked My Life

“I Liked My Life,” by Abby Fabiaschi

Publication: St. Martin’s Press; January 31, 2017

i-liked-my-lifeSynopsis: 


Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?

My Review:

“I Liked My Life” is Abby Fabiaschi’s debut novel scheduled to release January 31st. This is the story of Brady and his daughter Eve and the aftermath of his wife and Eve’s mother, Maddy committing suicide. This seemingly “normal” family is shaken to the core when about a month before Eve’s 17th birthday, Maddy jumps off of the rooftop of the Wellesley Library. The remainder of the novel is told from 3 points of view: Maddy, Brady and Eve. Maddy is able to see her family and friends and tries to communicate to them that it will all be o.k. and tries to urge them to move on from their grieving. Brady’s point of view highlights his struggles as a widower trying to understand why his wife took her own life, what he could have done differently and how to improve on his relationship with Eve. From Eve’s perspective, she illustrates how the experience has changed her in both good and bad ways, and she also reveals guilt about her relationship with her mother, as well as, questioning why her mother would kill herself.

This book was very different for me because initially, I had a difficult time reading it and getting involved in the story. I’m not sure if it was the overall tone of sadness or if it was just slow to start, but I struggled getting into this book and actually set it down for a few days and then came back to it – which I am so glad that I did.  The first 1/4 or so of the novel is extremely sad and there are several more sad parts throughout, however, as I continued reading I found myself completely absorbed in Brady and Eve’s lives and the changes they both made as they dealt with Maddy’s death. The only window into Maddy’s private feelings and thoughts was the journal she left behind, which both Brady and Eve occasionally read, yet they still struggled for any concrete insight as to why she killed herself. The author takes the reader through an incredible transformation concerning Brady as he shifts from being completely consumed by his career to actively creating more and more one on one time for him and Eve, as well as, exploring his own interests to build a more fulfilling life outside of work. Eve feels as if friends no longer want to spend time with her due to her grief, when actually she is the one that isolates herself early on from others, focusing on moving away to attend a boarding school for her senior year. Although they continued to have occasional issues, Eve did actively work to become closer to her Dad, and also formed a close bond with her tutor, Rory, who had also experienced her own share of heartache and loss. 

Abby Fabiaschi truly blew me away with this debut novel. There were some definite surprises in the plot, and honestly, there is a huge surprise towards the end of the novel, but what impressed me so much while reading was her incredible character development not often seen in a debut novel. After reading this novel I felt as if I knew these characters personally and that I had been there with them experiencing their ups and downs, joy and sorrow, and changes to their lives. The eloquent writing and abundance of emotion made this novel compelling, enriching and definitely a story that I will not forget. I highly recommend this to any lover of women’s fiction interested in a story of loss, self-reflection and finally finding peace. 

Learn more about Abby Fabiaschi by visiting her web page. 

*Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Preorder “I Liked My Life” on Amazon. 

 

 

Book Blitz

Spotlight: The Adventures of Fawn

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Title:  ‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls
Series:  The Adventures of Fawn
Author:  Al E. Boy
Published:  2014
Genre:  Children’s Fiction/Fantasy

The trilogy, The Adventures of Fawn is an entertaining, imaginative, heartwarming excursion into the magical, mythical world of the North Pole, Santa, his friends and reindeer. Through Fawn’s many exploits you’ll watch her grow and mature as she learns about life and the world she lives in. And…you’ll also learn the answers to many questions and mysteries surrounding the North Pole and Santa himself.


Synopsis:
Legendary reindeer,Comet and Vixen, have a daughter named Fawn. Fawn yearns to explore the world outside Santa’s Village, but her parents tell her she’s much too young to go off by herself.
“I want some fun and excitement! I don’t care how dangerous it is!”
When the young reindeer utters these words, and begins sneaking out each day…she has no idea what’s in store for her!
Along the way, Fawn does make friends with a snow bunny and a short snowman…Snowboy. But all is not so rosy, as she comes to realize the dangers her parents warned her about, are actually very, very real!
Hungry, wild animals, a deadly North Pole blizzard, and dangerous strangers capturing animals to sell to a New York City zoo are just some of the situations she’s going to have to face.
It’s going to be an incredible, exciting, and unforgettable week!


Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!


Excerpt from Book #1-‘Til the Last Snowflake Falls:
Today was going to be the day!
     Fawn had it all planned out. The young reindeer would wait until her dad and mum, Comet and Vixen, came home to the stable, and she was going to calmly explain how unhappy she was.
     Sure…she’d mentioned it before, (more like every other day), but each time her bad mood had gotten the better of her and she’d wound up arguing with her parents. Each time they had told her she wasn’t old enough…not mature enough…to be going out on her own.
     Fawn had often pondered over their words.
     Not mature enough?!
     She wasn’t exactly sure what that meant…but just the same she didn’t like the sound of it!
     I think it’s like saying I’m still a baby! Darnit! I’m four and a half months old!!
     Fawn was convinced fun…excitement….maybe even friends could be hers to enjoy if she was free to explore the world outside Santa’s Village.
     I blew it those other times by getting too excited. If I can plainly and calmly explain to mum and dad how bored and lonely I am…how I need some friends…surely they’ll see how much I’ve changed…how much more ‘mature’ I am now…whatever that means! I’ll wait for them to come home…and then I’ll show them.
     Yes, indeed! She had it all planned out!
     But sometimes even the best laid plans can fall apart.
Also Available:
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Synopsis:
The Adventures of Fawn continue as an evil former elf Princess is trying to destroy The Ona Pendulum…a device that enables Santa, Wajic, his elves and reindeer to live for hundreds of years. So Fawn and her friends are off to the rescue to save Santa and company…Christmas 1849….and every other future Christmas, as well! In the process they’ll learn how a young toymaker named Kristoff Kringle became Santa Claus, how he met the elves, and where his famous, “Ho-Ho-Ho” comes from. They’ll also learn about the Rua Ondos…wonderful, magical shooting stars which fell to Earth on the very first Christmas. The Ona Pendulum is an adventure the whole family will enjoy!!


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Synopsis:
The Adventures of Fawn continue in “Far and Yet So Near’, as the young reindeer, Bunny, Doctor Weather and friends find themselves trailing Santa’s reindeer after they come under the control of a mysterious stranger, and suddenly, mindlessly march off together. Set in the year 1849, “Far And Yet So Near” sees the group led to an underground cavern where they learn the mystery man intends to steal the team of reindeer. Santa and his wizard friend, Wajic turn up in the nick of time…and it looks like everyone is rescued. But the stranger has a few tricks up his sleeve, and explosions unexpectedly rock the cavern as he makes good his escape.
But not before he ‘reindeer-naps’ Fawn and carries her off to a waiting ship. She soon finds herself a pet in an English manor house near London. Will Fawn ever return to the North Pole? Will she ever see her parents again? Will anyone ever be able to find her? Did Santa, Wajic, Doctor Weather and the reindeer perish in the explosions? Read “Far And Yet So Near” to find out!


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About the Author:
Al E. Boy is an English teacher, originally from Canada, but currently residing in Seoul, South Korea.
Through almost 40 years as a Santa Claus, Al E. Boy developed quite a repertoire of tales to explain and answer the many questions children ask about Santa, the North Pole, his reindeer, and his friends, the elves.
It was this collection of tales which prompted him to begin writing The Adventures of Fawn. Through the young daughter of legendary reindeer Comet and Vixen, he’s been able to weave an exciting, colorful, imaginative world which will delight readers of all ages!




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Get all three books in one Omnibus:  Amazon
Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
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Giveaway

Giveaway: The Game of Sexes

game-of-sexes

I am so excited to host a giveaway from author Opal K. Dante! She is graciously giving away 10 copies of her novel, “The Game of Sexes.” 

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

My review from earlier this year:

 THE GAME OF SEXES, BY OPAL K. DANTE

PUBLICATION: MARCH 25, 2016

game-of-sexes

Synopsis: Evie is twenty years old and has never been with a man. Now she’s ready to do so. Only the man she’s madly in love with and whom she’s chosen to give her virginity to, is her stepfather, the charming shipping magnate, Sir Sebastian.
Evie tries everything to conquer Sebastian, but when she finally manages to win his love, she discovers that he’s not entirely hers. And it’s not because he hasn’t divorced her mother yet. Soon Evie will discover that her mother is not her real rival.
Their marriage was nothing more than a social façade.Sebastian’s heart is split in two, but her real rival is neither a man nor a woman. Or rather – it’s both together. The perfect man and the perfect woman in the same body. The hermaphrodite captain Sirocco. The mysterious ship VERTIGO is their secret hideaway. What role will Evie play between the two lovers? Very soon life will make it clear that in their case, there are no clear-cut male and female roles. Everyone will have to improvise.

Review:

And now, for something completely different! I read “The Game of Sexes,” by Opal K. Dante last night, and had to sleep on it before writing my review. This is the story of 20-year-old Evie, who is hormonal, sexually frustrated and secretly in love with her stepfather, Sebastian. Realizing that she is coming of age and has “needs,” Sebastian and her mother throw her a birthday party inviting swarms of eligible bachelors. One young man, Alex, instantly falls in love with her and wants to marry her but she still has her heart set on Sebastian.

After several attempts at getting Sebastian’s attention, he finally gives in after learning that Evie’s mother has left him for another man. However, before he will take her virginity he insists on her traveling on the ship VERTIGO and meeting Captain Sirocco. When Evie finally meets the Captain, she is in awe at how perfectly beautiful he is, and then realizes that he is a hermaphrodite. Evie also learns that Sebastian and Sirocco have been in a romantic relationship for many years and to be with Sebastian means sharing him with Sirocco. Besides Evie, Sebastian and Sirocco’s story, there are tons of side stories involving Evie’s mother, Sebastian’s father, other men her mother has been involved with, and Sirocco’s long-lost mother. At times I felt there were too many sub-plots to this novel and that it was really being overdone, yet I still couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out more.

At times I felt there were too many sub-plots to this novel and that it was really being overdone, yet I still couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out more. I consider myself an extremely open-minded person, however, a good deal of this novel was just a bit much for me. I respect and admire Dante’s honesty within her characters, revealing their true selves no matter how shocking or unusual it appears, but Evie was actually annoying at times. This girl was completely obsessed with anything sexual and would do anything, with anyone, at any time. There were also some “on-the-fly” doctor’s appointments and medical procedures that were completely unbelievable, but also necessary to the development of the plot. Physical realizations concerning Evie (towards the end) felt almost silly, but then again, this is one of those novels where anything goes. Admittedly, I was fascinated by Sirocco initially, but as the novel ended I began to lose respect for both him and Sebastian.

Dante’s writing is easy to follow and fast-paced, and as previously stated, you can’t help but keep burning up the pages to find out what will happen next. There were times where I just thought something was too far-fetched and almost stopped reading, but I couldn’t help wanting to finish it. I was a bit disappointed by the ending because I didn’t feel there was closure. Perhaps she plans on writing a follow-up or she is wanting the reader to imagine their own conclusion to the Evie, Sebastian, Sirocco love triangle. Hats off to the author for writing a completely original story with characters unlike any others. This novel may not appeal to all readers but there is no disputing the fact that Dante has written something completely different from any other novels out there. I honestly don’t know if I loved this book or hated it, lol, but it was absolutely a unique and compelling read. Once again, I must say that Dante stands out as a fearless writer with a limitless imagination with a powerful ability to pull the reader into the story.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review

 

Book Blitz, Giveaway

Book Blitz: The High Road

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Title:   The High Road
Series:   Spellkeeper Flight, Book 1
Author:   Ken Hughes
Published:   November 12th, 2016
Publisher:  Windward Road Press
Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:   Enter a world of gangs, vigilantes, and magic that’s powerful enough to kill.
Mark has never been the survivor his friend Angie is, but when he rescues a mysterious belt from the flames, it’s a decision that changes his life for good. As the two tap into the secret of gravity-controlling magic, they realize the reason Angie’s family tried to destroy the belt. Flying comes at a cost, to their lives and their sanity.

Fighting back against a street gang with a vendetta, Mark begins to sense that death waits around every turn. Soon he and Angie come face-to-face with the true danger: hidden masters of other magical forces. The keepers of power want the secret of flying, and they’ll destroy anyone who gets in their way.

The High Road is the first book in a trilogy of street-level urban fantasy adventures. If you like heart-pounding suspense, comic-book energy, and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, then you’ll love Ken Hughes’s gritty, magical series.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

Excerpt from The High Road by Ken Hughes:
Mark rose upward, floating, like a dream. His feet reached down for the ground of their own accord, but found only empty space.

Upward, forward. The dark shapes of branches met him, scratched along him, as he fended them off with a forearm, hugging the satchel closer, his fingers tightening on the belt within —

What the hell is happening? Where will I stop?

With a shock of fear he grabbed for the branches, but his fingers only closed on twigs that rustled and snapped in his grip. The black sky yawned above. He tried to reach down after the trees as they dropped away below, but he could only thrash his arms, couldn’t lean back when he hung weightless in the air.

I must be fifteen-some feet up—more each second! In the next instant he tried the only thing he could think of: he let the satchel go and bent his knees to tense for the fall.

Except he didn’t fall, he kept rising. He could see the satchel beside him, floating upward on its own. “No no no—” He thrashed in space and stared helplessly around… and his breath caught at the sight.

The branches below were a sea of shadows ruffling in the breeze from behind his back, a breeze that ebbed away into stillness even as he noticed it.

But the wind hadn’t faded, he could see that from the trembling wood still passing by below… because he was being carried within the current now, still rising and floating across it. He gazed around in the gloom: beyond the faint trees and rolling hills of the park just below, the crystalline grid of city lights began to spread before him; the streets’ night-thinned rumbles and honks filtered up to his ears with clearer tones than they ever had down at street level. Even the smells were different, cleaner, at this distance from the ground. He looked down again, to the scattered lamplight along the park’s walkways. Was that a couple walking along?

A rumble of far-off thunder snapped his mind back. The satchel was floating away.
No! He flailed and strained in the air, and managed to snag it again. The damn belt had broken gravity—he clutched it and gasped out “Zha-Daruath!” but this time all the words triggered was a faint tingle.

—A wave of cold washed that tingle away as he stared at the ground, whole stories below him and still shrinking. What if saying those words really had brought him down, all at once?
Or, what if nothing brought him down? More and more of the city drew back around him. Moonlight filtered from above, leading upward forever, forever. His heart hammered. Behind him, the endless black storm bore in, ready to swallow him up. He might as well be naked in the sky.

This can’t be happening! How can Joe Dennard have something that makes you fly… and how could I be so stupid as to grab it and get trapped.
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About the Author:
Ken Hughes lives in Los Angeles and has worked as a technical writer for missions to Mars and the governing body of the Internet (ICANN). He writes paranormal thrillers and urban fantasy, and has been known to argue over the difference between the two in his blog, http://www.KenHughesAuthor.com.
His novel Shadowed was nominated for a Global Ebook Award. The series he’s launching with the upcoming The High Road is meant to prove one thing: how writing a thrilling cliff-hanger for heroes who can fly takes writing to a whole new level. (Don’t get him started on puns.)


 


Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • An ecopy of The High Road

Giveaway is International.

 Ends December 20th at 11:59 PM

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Reviews

Review: Everything You Want Me to Be

“EVERYTHING YOU WANT ME TO BE,”

BY MINDY MEJIA

PUBLICATION: ATRIA/EMILY BESTLER BOOKS;

JANUARY 3, 2017

 

everythingSynopsis: Full of twists and turns, Everything You Want Me to Be reconstructs a year in the life of a dangerously mesmerizing young woman, during which a small town’s darkest secrets come to the forefront…and she inches closer and closer to her death.

High school senior Hattie Hoffman has spent her whole life playing many parts: the good student, the good daughter, the good citizen. When she’s found brutally stabbed to death on the opening night of her high school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of her small town community. Local sheriff Del Goodman, a family friend of the Hoffmans, vows to find her killer but trying to solve her murder yields more questions than answers. It seems that Hattie’s acting talents ran far beyond the stage. Told from three points of view—Del, Hattie, and the new English teacher whose marriage is crumbling—Everything You Want Me to Be weaves the story of Hattie’s last school year and the events that drew her ever closer to her death.

My Review:

I’m not exactly sure how to do this book justice but I will absolutely try! “Everything You Want Me to Be” is an absolutely compelling page-turner that I quickly devoured in one sitting. This novel is told from 3 points of view: Hattie, the high school senior that is found murdered; Del, the local Sheriff and close friend of Hattie’s family; and Peter, the new high school teacher that is incredibly good-looking, intelligent, progressive, and also has a very troubled marriage. Early in the novel, a girl’s body is discovered in an old barn, which turns out to be Hattie. The novel then alternates between points of view, as well as, between past and present in order to paint the picture of Hattie’s real life and those involved in it, along with Del’s investigation and the aftermath of her death. 

There are several key players in this novel, in addition to the 3 above-mentioned characters. Hattie’s parents, Bud and Mona, have been close friends with Del since before Hattie was born. This creates a great deal of conflict within Del trying to conduct his investigation while also trying to console his friends about the loss of their daughter. There is also Hattie’s boyfriend, Tommy Kinakis whom she broke up with the night of her murder. Regarding the English teacher Peter, there was his wife, Mary Beth, who moved them there from Minneapolis to take care of her mother and also paid little attention to her husband and the growing distance between them. There is also Jake, one of Del’s deputies, Hattie’s best friend Portia, and several other townspeople with their own thoughts and opinions on Hattie’s murder. 

What are the themes of this outstanding novel? Well, first and foremost would be the fact that sometimes we never really know people, whether they are our parent, spouse, child, and so on. Second, this novel perfectly demonstrates the damage one can do to themselves by pretending to be something they are not, always trying to project the perfect persona for the sake of others. Third, this novel portrays the ugly faces of jealousy, passion, rage, and feeling there are no other choices. 

Mindy Mejia has not only written a wonderful “whodunnit” novel, but she has shown how different perspectives have such different opinions and realities. I would like to say that Peter was the only person that truly knew Hattie, but I’m not even sure if that is an accurate statement. This novel tells the story of a girl who tries so hard to be a certain person for so many different people, that eventually she completely loses sight of who she really is. Then all of the people that loved her slowly learn how little they actually knew about who she really was. This novel is suspense at it’s best, at times getting completely and uncomfortably under your skin, but leaving you breathless at the end of each and every page. Mejia’s writing convinces the reader that this person did it and then that another person did it but when it is all said and done, it is completely unexpected. 

I am so incredibly happy that I was given the opportunity to read this ARC and feel certain that this will be a best seller in 2017 when released. Mindy Mejia has taken unfortunately common topics such as murder and student-teacher relationships to an entirely new and suspenseful level. This is a novel that you will not soon forget and will be telling everyone about that are willing to listen. 

Learn more about Mindy Mejia by visiting her web page. 

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.